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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 60, Issue 2, June 2020

Shane Drefcinski
Pages 139-151

“For the Most Part” Generalizations and Practical Wisdom

My objective in this paper is to contribute to our understanding of Aristotle’s science of ethics by defending two claims. (1) There is a way in which generalizations hold only for the most part that is unlike any of the types of generalizations in the natural sciences that hold only for the most part. These ethical generalizations depict ideals that, although grounded in and perfective of our human nature, are only rarely realized. (2) Aristotle’s account of practical wisdom provides all the resources we need for understanding how the person with practical wisdom can tell when the for the most part generalization in ethics is true and when it is not.

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